Bruce Lee

Interesting Book: The Warrior Within – The Philosophies of Bruce Lee

We all know Bruce Lee as a legendary martial artist and movie star.  What many people don’t know is that Bruce Lee was also extremely knowledgeable regarding philosophy and taught some highly advanced concepts to his students and those around him.

The book The Warrior Within: The Philosophies of Bruce Lee to better Understand the World Around You and Achieve a Rewarding Life explains this little known side of the superstar.

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was a believer in studying multiple philosophical systems to find what works best for the individual.  He himself drew largely from Taoism and Zen Buddhism.  He would often quote Buddhist stories such as this one:

“A Samurai was calmly eating his supper in a small inn, ignoring four flies, which kept buzzing round him. Three Ronin (masterless samurai) came in: they looked enviously at the two magnificent swords which the man had fixed in his belt, for these weapons represented a small fortune, A look of intense satisfaction came over their faces: the man seemed to be defenseless and alone against three.

Sitting at a nearby table, they began to make to make fun of him in raised voices in the hope that he would be provoked into a duel, As the man remained completely indifferent to them, they got more and more acid.

Slowly raising the chopsticks with which he had just eaten his rice, the samurai effortlessly struck each of the four flies in four quick, precise actions, after which he delicately put down the tools, and all without so much as glancing at the three boors.

A heavy silence followed. The three Ronin looking at each other realized that before them was a man of formidable mastery. Frightened, they fled.

Much later, they learnt that this man who had so shrewdly spared them was called Miyamoto Musashi.”

The point of this story is that if one can truly master one thing (plucking flies out of the air with chopsticks) then they can probably master other things (sword combat).  Bruce Lee used to discuss that the true meaning of Kung Fu is not a specific fighting system, but total mastery in any or all endeavors.

Another quote that sums up a large amount of his teaching is “True refinement seeks simplicity”.

Bruce taught that one begins learning in a natural state, but without technique.  Next they learn technique, but become rigid to the way they learn it and have to overthink it.  Finally they let go of focusing on doing a technique the right way having absorbed the essence of what and why it works making it their own.  They “forget” what they learned and simplify their knowing of it.  They can then execute the technique in their own most powerful and natural way.

Bruce Lee believed that everyone has their own path in life and that no two paths are exactly the same.  He believed that each of us is here to express themselves in whatever way is most natural for that one person and that this is the highest goal that we should aim for.  He believed that in boiling down concepts and ideas to their most basic, simple and true nature one understands them most deeply and powerfully.

It was a great loss to the world when Bruce Lee died prematurely from a drug allergy at the age of 32.  He was wise beyond his years and looked to use his television and movie roles to teach the world the concepts and wisdom that he himself learned and constantly refined.  We can still learn from the hidden messages in his movies (which are mentioned in this book), his writings and interviews.

Bruce Lee

While I find it sad that he didn’t get to teach so much that he could have, I greatly value the wisdom that he did leave behind.

Best wishes,


Click here to find “The Philosophies of Bruce Lee” on Amazom

Click here to read more about Musashi

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